Don Buxton received this response:
— On Mon, 28/5/12, Battersby, Karl <Karl.Battersby@rotherham.gov.uk> wrote:
From: Battersby, Karl <Karl.Battersby@rotherham.gov.uk>
Subject: RE: FOI Request – 105
To: “DON BUXTON”
Cc: “Kemp, Liz” <Liz.Kemp@rotherham.gov.uk>
Date: Monday, 28 May, 2012, 14:43
Mr Buxton, I write in response to your request on behalf of the Chief Executive.
In terms of the first issue, advice from the Information Commissioners Office is that for a request to be valid under the Freedom of Information Act it must be in writing, but requesters do not have to mention the Act or direct their request to a designated member of staff. We should therefore treat every request for information as an FOI request.
In terms of the cost, we use a cost calculator based on the amount of time taken to find the information and deal with the request. This includes the time taken to log in the request, retrieve the information, and subsequently respond. We do not make a charge ( although the regulations allow a charge to be levied), but we do show what it has cost to respond. The regulations state that:
“ A public authority can charge for the time taken by its staff on the activities included in communicating the information. Regulation 7(5) indicates that staff time is to be charged at the flat rate of £25 per hour, irrespective of whether a higher rate is actually incurred by internal staff or charged by external contractor staff”.
We use this regulation as the basis for communicating what it has cost to respond to the request for information. In this instance, the cost to the authority in responding to this request has been £12.50.
Environment and Development Services
Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
Still dissatisfied, Don replied thus:
In response to the latest e-mail from your subordinate employee I note that there has been a complete failure by RMBC to answer these two points –
(a) – I would appreciate a detailed costing from you or a subordinate which explains how your organisation is able to concoct such a ridiculous notional imaginary sum.
(b) – Will you be adding such a spurious notional sum to your subsequent requests to Leeds City Council for reimbursement of the costs of RMBC’s civic vehicle. If not, please explain to me why not.
I also note the pedantic nature of your response which alleges the further spurious notional cost of £12.50.
To quote a previous Chief Executive of RMBC, the e-mail was read, but not read thoroughly enough. Perhaps if it had been read thoroughly enough then you could have saved £12.50 instead of incurring it.
I have costed my time at 0% in relation to my request to obtain statutory information held by RMBC, and as such will not be making a request for payment or reimbursement to RMBC.
This has been part of my civic duty as an active and empowered citizen who wishes to scrutinise and challenge the costs of activities of those who are elected to discharge public duties on behalf of Rotherham citizens.
I hope to have the courtesy of a reply to my two unanswered points.
Donald H. Buxton
Don’t miss Trambuster’s comment, which reveals the amazing and outrageous deception at the heart of Karl Battersby’s reply! Karl Battersby should learn that Rothpol’s contributors and readers are neither fools or mushrooms!